Which kid's beginners programming - Python or Forth?

Brian van den Broek bvande at po-box.mcgill.ca
Tue Jun 28 07:53:55 CEST 2005

BORT said unto the world upon 27/06/2005 23:16:
> Please forgive me if this is TOO newbie-ish.
> I am toying with the idea of teaching my ten year old a little about
> programming.  I started my search with something like "best FREE
> programming language for kids."  After MUCH clicking and high-level
> scanning, I am looking at Python and Forth.  Both have advocates that
> say each is a great approach to learning computers.


> [NOTE: This is not a troll.  I'm geting ready to bark up a tree and I
> prefer to avoid the wrong one. I am cross-posting.]
> Thanks


I don't know a thing about Forth. I'm a hobbyist programmer with 
enough Python , and a "tourist's" level of a few other languages. So, 
no pro here :-) Qualifying done:

A great thing about Python is the community. Roy Smith's stats 
comparing mailing list activity is useful data. I would also add that 
with the leading and closing bits of your post, it seems like perhaps 
you've seen an ugly flame or two in the past, no? Well, this is a very 
friendly place by 'net standards. One can get flamed in 
comp.lang.python, but you have to work at it. Hard.

Another good community resource would be the Tutor mailing list -- 
there are a core group of posters who are very good at explaining 
things in a patient and novice-friendly way (and a number of 
intermediate folks like myself who sometimes ask, sometimes answer): 

A useful (and free) book aimed at high school students is How to Think 
Like a Computer Scientist: Learning with Python 
<http://greenteapress.com/thinkpython/>. Though an adult when I came 
to Python, I found it useful while first starting and a bit 
intimidated by the prospect. It quickly got me to a place where 
reading "grown up" books like Learning Python was easy enough.


Brian vdB

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